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My Flabber has been Ghasted

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mike Meehan


My flabber has been well and truly ghasted. We currently have temperatures of + 21 C on the eastern seaboard of the US of A. Probably the mildest first week of January that I can recall and that goes back along way. For a significant part of the winter so far the temperature in Moscow has been above freezing. At the same time unseasonably cold in New Zealand +14 C at Christchurch inthe height of their summer!

Qui a passé?

I suspect that the relatively cold temperatures in New Zealand are most probably caused by increased ice shelving off the Antarctic ice cap into the southern oceans causing cooling will account for that part.

It may be the position of the jet streams which account for our weather at the moment but something must have caused this, with higher than average sea temperatures.

No doubt the El Nino is in blame for part.

It is a far cry from my childhood in the 40’s and 50’s where snow at least for a time was guaranteed each winter with some heavy and cold frosts. Daily maximums as low as -5 C were not that uncommon with the nights dropping to -10 C and below. Mostly winters followed a more or less predictable fashion with mild spells and cold snaps which were sometimes just frosty but probably 3 or more times in the winter we would generally get snow. Some decent falls at times with drifting. On the odd occasion we would get that lovely dry powdery stuff which made it difficult to make snow balls.There appeared to be plenty of opportunity to make slides on frozen ponds.

Alas my granchildren have seen seen little of this. Come to think of it my children saw far less than whatever I did.

I remember clearly the winter of 1962/63 when I believe I was privileged to be working as a scientific assistant in the Met Office at Heathrow when I was able to gain a grandstand view as it were. During that same winter an observation came in from New Orleans with -5 C and freezing rain and there was plenty of snow in the Atlas Mountains and some on the lower ground in North Africa.

I suppose we will all have to order our air conditioning next summer then that will contribute more to global warming – a catch 22.

If it is of any comfort,"Old Moores Almanac" predicts a colder than normal December 2007!

We will wait and see.

I am sure that one winter we will get a nice blocking high to give us a winter similar to'63 since even with global warming nature has a habitof reverting to extremes. I thought it might happen in 2005 but it did not quite work out.

Mike Meehan

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